Crikey, we’ve got a twofer here! Not only my favourite flicks of last year, but the specific moments that made me squeal with delight! Let’s get this started with the best movies, in no particular order.
21 Jump Street
I was cynical going into this. A reboot of an old eighties TV show, starring Channing Tatum and that dude from Superbad? It looked fairly decent, but that was it. Instead it ended up being the funniest film I have seen since Anchorman. Ridiculous, and with a tongue firmly placed in-cheek, 21 Jump Street delivers not only top dollar laughs but a number of fantastic action set pieces. Get it and watch it: Ice Cube’s performance alone is worth the price of the DVD.
Compliance is one of the most uncomfortable-to-watch films I have ever seen. Detailing the real-life events of a mysterious phone call to a fast food restaurant, it will make you squirm on a variety of levels. Featuring some great performances from a cast with no big names, Compliance is not a film that you enjoy, exactly. Rather than see it and be entertained, you will see it and want to have a shower and cry for a bit. More power to it, to be honest. Compliance is a serious, powerful, and emotive film and one of the great lesser-known movies of 2012.
The Dark Knight Rises
Given my huge write-up of this film earlier in the year, I was trying to find another film to take its spot on the list. But there’s no getting around it, it deserves to be here. Not only is it a fantastic film in its own right, but it completes one of the best trilogies of all time. Christopher Nolan did the impossible, by placating the majority of a hardcore fanbase whilst refusing to budge on his creative vision of a realistic superhero trilogy. An incredible feat and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Speaking of superhero films, Chronicle provided realism in an entirely different way. The world is fantastical, with a group of teens gaining superpowers from a crashed meteorite, but – incredibly – the characters appear to react as human beings. They don’t immediately don spandex outfits and fight crime. Instead, they focus on their own lives, and their own pain. It’s a brilliant take on the subgenre and adds a fresh new element to the found footage style.
Oh boy, do I love a good mystery, and Red Lights gets it right. Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver are a pair of paranormal investigators, who spend their time picking apart fraudster psychics and hoax hauntings. They take on the world’s biggest psychic, played charismatically by Robert De Niro. But is he really a hoax? Red Lights is a complex film in all the right ways, leaving clues along the way to help the audience decipher the mystery of its plot. Unnerving and tense in all the right places, Red Lights is a gem that was unfairly overlooked.
So those are my top films of the year. But what about the best moments?
Prometheus – Surgery Scene
Prometheus was a flawed film in a variety of ways. But it was visually stunning and there were some absolutely incredible moments. The most memorable of these was the grotesque surgery scene that…well, see for yourself.
Sinister – Home Movies
Sinister was my horror movie of the year. Generally, it built its scares on atmosphere rather than jumps, which puts it a long way above most of this year’s other horrors. The most important parts of this were the home movies that Ethan Hawke’s crime writer finds. The clip below is a good example, but the best of the bunch involved lawn mowing. I would link it, but I don’t want to spoil it. See it for yourself.
Ted – Shoryuken
If I had to pick a comedy alongside 21 Jump Street, Ted would be it. A wonderfully charming film, it still has some great moments of shocking humour. My favourite was seeing Mark Wahlberg give a snotty brat of a kid his just deserts.
Dredd – Finale
Gosh darn this film was great. A fairly faithful adaptation of the 2000 AD character, Dredd was a bloody, violent, wonderful film harking back to the ultraviolence of eighties action. The best part was how Dredd’s character – an unstoppable force of legal righteousness – was kept in. How he deals with MaMa threatening to destroy a tower block was an iconic end to yet another great comic book adaptation.
The Dark Knight Rises – Bane’s Prison Speech
Oh, Bane. Everything about the character was fantastic: charismatic, dangerous, brutal, violent, and – most importantly – fiercely intelligent. It was everything his character in the comics was, but with crucial changes to make him applicable to Christopher Nolan’s Gotham. The best example of this was his speech in front of Blackgate Prison: a wonderful bastardization of the Occupy movement to suit his own, evil means.
So that’s the best of 2012. I’m not going to go into the bad – I’m not really that kind of fella. All I can say is that I hope that 2013 is just as good as the year just gone. It was a wonderful year for cinema, so let’s hope for an even better future.
Happy New Year to you all!